Board members of the Trade Unions Congress of Kenya have opposed the move by the government through a notice directing employers to deduct and remit 1.5percent from salaries for the Housing tax.
Addressing media in Nakuru on Tuesday led by the Deputy Secretary General Trade Unions Congress Dr.Charles Mukhwaya, the officials said the move by the government is illegal since the matter is still active before a court of law.
“As representatives of workers we want to state here categorically that the move taken by government is illegal because the matter is still active in a court of law” said Dr.Mukhwaya.
According to the workers representatives, the government has failed to adhere to the law despite the President in his State of the Nation address this year stating that the rule of law remains supreme and should be adhered.
They argued that it is out of order for government to direct employers to deduct salaries yet the same government has made no increment to the salaries of employees for the last six years.
While citing the recent increase in fuel prices that is now making life of workers and public in general difficult, the unionists have now called on government to stop infringing more suffering to workers through the unfair deductions through the creation Housing tax Fund.
“The same government that is telling us to adhere to the law as the Head of state put in his State of the nation address has failed by infringing on the rights of workers by coming up with statutory deductions that are unfair” said Dr.Mukhwaya.
Sentiments echoed by Prof.Muga K’olale who said as representatives of the workers they will not sit down and watch the workers being intimidated by the government.
He warned that if the government does not listen to the cry of the workers then they will remain with only one action which is industrial action.
“We will not sit down and watch these illegalities being orchestrated by government against workers. If the solution form the court will not be satisfactory then we shall resolve to the other option that is best known to the workers” said Prof K’olale.
Already the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) is up in arms over the same.In a statement to newsrooms, FKE said that the notice is against court orders that suspended the implementation of the Housing Levy up to the May 20, 2019 when the case will come up again for mention.
The notice from the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works in conjunction with Kenya Revenue Authority had been published in the local dailies on Tuesday, April 16.
Employers in the public and private sector had been ordered to remit the Housing tax by the 9th of every month starting May.
However, FKE Director/CEO Jacqueline Mugo said: “The Gazette Notice is therefore unlawful and we shall keep you posted on any further developments.”
Last year, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli moved to court over the Housing levy arguing that there was no public participation.
PHOTO/Pristone Mambili:Board members of the Trade Unions Congress of Kenya led by Deputy Secretary General Dr.Charles Mukhwaya addressing media in Nakuru on 16th April 2019.